MountainTrue Raleigh Report
The MountainTrue Raleigh Report covers environmental politics and policy, with a focus on the issues that affect Western North Carolina. Sign up to get the Raleigh Report delivered to your inbox.
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In this edition of the Raleigh Report, we take a look at Governor Cooper’s new appointee for DEQ Secretary and run down our WNC delegation and their committee appointments.
The North Carolina General Assembly is back in action for its 2021 session – and MountainTrue is ready with a list of requests for legislators to protect Western North Carolina’s natural resources.
In case you missed it, two of North Carolina’s environmental leaders got new, high profile jobs recently.
First, Secretary of the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) Michael S. Regan was appointed by President-Elect Joe Biden to lead the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Prior to leading NC DEQ, Secretary Regan led clean energy expansion programs at the Environmental Defense Fund, and also served as an air quality expert at the EPA for almost a decade. You might remember that Secretary Regan also received hundreds of public comments from MountainTrue members and our allies calling for full excavation of North Carolina’s coal ash in 2019 – a decision he ultimately ordered, resulting in the largest coal ash cleanup in US history.
After millions of dollars in campaign spending, a gazillion political ads and much gnashing of teeth (as well as far too many tweets), the balance of power in the next North Carolina General Assembly is clear. At the state level, all of that politicking has landed us, well, right back where we started.
Debates, town halls, early voting, campaign ads and voting rights lawsuits – the election season is at its height! So if you don’t have a plan for voting, now is the time to make one.
Members of the General Assembly return to Raleigh tomorrow for yet another short – very short – two-day session. While Governor Cooper released an ambitious package of budget priorities including pandemic response proposals and bond measures last week, lawmakers are not expected to take up much of those plans. Instead, look for the legislature to focus on a more limited expenditure of some portion of the state’s still-unspent federal COVID-19 relief funds, including a bump in unemployment benefits and new investments in rural broadband to support the rise of online schooling.
Last week, the North Carolina General Assembly completed most of its work for the 2020 session – and among the flurry of late night meetings and last minute bills that are typical of the end of session, there was some good news for Western North Carolina’s rivers and...
The lack of a budget development process at the legislature is a mixed bag for the environment. For starters, it leaves organizations like MountainTrue with no way to engage lawmakers about much-needed investments to protect our natural resources. On the other hand, it avoids – or at least postpones – the steep cuts that the legislature would likely propose for regulatory agencies that protect our air and water if they attempted to draw up a new budget.
After much back and forth about how the session should proceed, the House and Senate Republican leadership decided to open the session this week and work continuously through the beginning of July, when they hope to adjourn.
With the legislative session beginning tomorrow, here’s what you should know about where things stand in Raleigh and what MountainTrue’s priorities are for the session.